Aims: To examine whether frequency, perceived severity and fear of hypoglycaemia are independently associated with diabetes-specific quality of life in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
Methods: Cross-sectional self-reported data on demographics, frequency and perceived severity of both self-treated and severe hypoglycaemia, fear of hypoglycaemia (Hypoglycaemia Fear Survey-Child version) and diabetes-specific quality of life (Pediatric Quality of Life Diabetes Module; PedsQL-DM) were obtained from the project 'Whose diabetes is it anyway?'. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed for the total scale and recommended summary scores of the PedsQL-DM as dependent variables; independent variables were entered in the following steps: (1) age, gender and HbA1c , (2) frequency of hypoglycaemia, (3) perceived severity of hypoglycaemia and (4) fear of hypoglycaemia.
Results: Adolescents (12-18 years; n = 96) completed questionnaires. In the first three steps, female gender (p < 0.05), higher HbA1c (p < 0.05), higher frequency of severe hypoglycaemia (p < 0.05) and higher perceived severity of severe (p < 0.05) and self-treated hypoglycaemia (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with lower diabetes-specific quality of life (β ranging from 0.20 to 0.35). However, in the final model only fear of hypoglycaemia was significantly associated with QoL (p < 0.001). Adolescents with greater fear reported lower diabetes-specific quality of life, with 52% explained variance. This pattern was observed across subdomains of diabetes-specific quality of life.
Conclusions: Fear of hypoglycaemia was the only factor independently associated with diabetes-specific quality of life, whereas frequency and perceived severity of hypoglycaemia were not. These findings highlight the importance of awareness and assessment of fear of hypoglycaemia in clinical practice.
Keywords: adolescents; fear of hypoglycaemia; hypoglycaemia; quality of life.
© 2021 Diabetes UK.